Voters walking out of the presidential nomination primary location in Pequot Lakes on Tuesday morning, March 3, responded positively to the state's fifth-ever presidential primary and first since 1992.

"It's OK," said Dorothy Marchwick. "I don't have any problem with it. I don't have a long ways to go. I don't have a long line."

"I like it," said Tom Jones. "I think it was simpler for one thing. I went to the caucus in 2008 and enjoyed that too, but I think the primary is better and probably a more fair assessment."

"I like the primary," said Aaron Pearson, of Pequot Lakes. "I think that more people are able to participate in a primary and I really appreciate that because I think more people should be involved in the political process. I do miss the caucus craziness a little bit, and feeling like you can make your voice heard a little bit more in the caucus, but the caucus is still happening. People can still be involved in those and I think some people missed out on that part."

Given that the Republican Party only allowed incumbent President Donald Trump on the ballot, the presidential nomination primary was largely dedicated to Democrats choosing their candidate for president. Their choices had dwindled as several candidates on the ballot dropped their bids for president before Tuesday's primary. Those names were still on the ballot though.

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People interviewed when exiting the polls at the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes at approximately 9 a.m. appeared to have voted on the Democratic ticket. By that time, those inside the polling place reported there were approximately 10 votes before 8 a.m., and another 10 before 9 a.m.

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By 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Pine River had approximately 40 voters with Pequot Lakes drawing 92. In Pine River, city staff compared these numbers to the turnout at the August 2018 general election primary, where approximately 80 showed up.

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In Pine River in about the same amount of time there had been only three votes cast at city hall. Of course, those numbers continued to grow through the day. By 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Pine River had approximately 40 voters with Pequot Lakes drawing 92. In Pine River, city staff compared these numbers to the turnout at the August 2018 general election primary, where approximately 80 showed up.

"As far as what I anticipated, I think it has surpassed that," said Pine River City Clerk Terri Dabill. "You don't know compared to a normal election."

A lower voter turnout was also not surprising in Pequot Lakes.

"We're not too surprised. It's kind of a slower day," said Pequot Lakes City Administrator Nancy Malecha. "For us at the city of Pequot, it's been kind of steady with a few people here and there, but by no means lines at any time."

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By 1 p.m. in Nisswa, more than 100 voters had visited city hall to cast ballots. City Administrator Jenny Max said there weren't any major issues with voters having to select a specific party ballot for the presidential nomination.

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By 1 p.m. in Nisswa, more than 100 voters had visited city hall to cast ballots. City Administrator Jenny Max said there weren't any major issues with voters having to select a specific party ballot for the presidential nomination.

"It's actually been steady," Max said by email. "Just one or two voters coming in at a time. I've been happy to see the turnout so far."

Minnesotan primary voters had just one day to digest how they felt about their home-state candidate, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, dropping out of the presidential race Monday, March 2. Klobuchar endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, which resulted in mixed feelings for those who liked the candidate, but felt a smaller field of candidates made their voice more likely to count.

"I like her," Marchwick said," but I think it's probably a good thing because it was split with too many people."

"I liked Amy a lot, but I made up my mind already to vote for someone else just because I didn't see her having a path," Jones said.

"I guess I would rather she dropped out now and let people have their ability to cast their vote instead of just voting for her and then her putting her backing behind whoever and later feeling like, 'Oh well, I didn't get to really pick,'" Pearson said.

That feeling may be exclusive to those who voted Tuesday, March 3 - known as Super Tuesday with 14 states holding presidential nomination primaries - as there were many early ballots cast before Klobuchar and other Democratic candidates left the race. During caucuses Tuesday, Feb. 25, several area residents interviewed had already cast an early ballot.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.